Over the past few weeks, I’ve laid out what Derek Carr is worth and the available QB market. The Raiders will hope and cross their fingers for a first-round pick in return for Derek Carr. However, it is more likely the net a fourth to second-round pick in the draft for the veteran quarterback. Either way, it takes two to tangle. What teams would actually pay the price for Derek Carr?
Let’s take a look at the teams who need a quarterback this offseason.
Cincinnati has all of their draft picks to play with but that top one is expected to get spent on Joe Burrow. It is highly unlikely they invest another top-half draft pick for a QB. If they need a bridge quarterback, they can explore keeping Andy Dalton or finding a cheaper option in free agency.
New Orleans appears ready to roll with the Taysum Hill and Drew Brees combo. Brees continued the role of starter and Hill being the gadget guy and heir in the wings. Again, a move for Carr is unlikely but they might look at a young guy in the later rounds of the draft.
Pittsburgh is still hoping Ben Roethlisberger is a Super Bowl quarterback. After that, they’ve got a slew of young variables led by Mason Rudolph. Carr is probably a more known entity than any Steelers quarterback not named Big Ben. Still, the Steelers are probably banking on the heir being on the roster already. They also got to make some roster moves to stay in a competitive division. Plus, the Steelers don’t have a first, third or fifth-round pick but hold Miami’s fourth in addition to their own fourth. All that makes it hard to see the Steelers wanting Carr.
Miami is a logical partner based on their draft picks alone. They have three first-round picks, two second-round picks, a third and three picks each in both the fifth and sixth round. Except Miami can probably find a bridge guy with more playoff experience, without trading a pick.
They just put a second into Rosen last year and are presumed to draft a quarterback. It is unlikely they want to trade another early pick for a quarterback. Then again, Reggie McKenzie is in that front office. McKenzie was the GM when the Raiders took Cart. Still, this situation is not much better for Carr. Ryan Fitzpatrick is under contract, too, making this an unlikely spot unless the Dolphins forgo this QB class and want to add Carr to the competition.
The Chargers are moving on from Philip Rivers. They also have Tyrod Taylor who is under contract and brings a few years starting experience. However, we last saw Tyrod looking below average with the Browns and the Bills traded him for a reason. Carr could be an upgrade but it is highly unlikely the Chargers and Raiders make this high profile deal when they play in the same division.
Detroit shot down rumors about their QB Matt Stafford and the Stafford family doubled down on staying in Detroit. The cement is still drying but it makes sense since Stafford is still a good quarterback at age 32. He has three years left on his deal too. He’s played in more playoff games than Carr too. The point is, Detroit doesn’t seem like a likely spot for Carr. If anything they’d probably draft a young quarterback for Matt Patricia to develop under Stafford. Personally, I would swap Carr for Stafford straight up but even that might be a lateral move for the Lions at best.
Again, rumors have been hot and cold on Cam Newton. One day the Panthers say they are trading him and the next day Newton says he would welcome a trade. It makes sense since Newton has been the face of the franchise. A franchise that is going through a coaching change. The timing also feels right since Newton was hurt last year. Still, if this team is headed for a rebuild why trade for Carr who is only a couple years younger than Newton but with less playoff experience and consistent success.
The Panthers also have Will Grier who they drafted last year and Kyle Allen who got a long look. Them, plus a rookie might make that QB room solid with Carr, Newton or another bridge guy. Would you trade Carr for Newton straight up? That probably doesn’t help either team, particularly the Panthers if they are going full rebuild.
Dallas rumors speculate Dak Prescott will get tagged but there is still a chance he doesn’t or gets moved even after he gets tagged. That team is going through a transition with an all-new coach. Remember when Derek Carr got compared to Aaron Rodgers? Perhaps, McCarthy sees that in D.C. and thinks he can do better this time around, experimenting with plays and managing egos.
Either way, Dallas doesn’t have any extra picks. They have a few players who are entering free agency and those picks should get used to filling those needs. Moreover, if the Cowboys won’t pay Dak would they take on Derek Carr’s $21.5 million cap hit? I guess that is less than the $30-40 million per season Prescott is expected to command. Still, Dallas is an unlikely candidate for Carr while Dak is in the picture.
Rumors from the Combine state that many expect Tom Brady to leave the Patriots from free agency. Various rumors have connected New England to other QBs like Andy Dalton. Speculation suggests the team might draft a quarterback with or without Brady. Obviously, Tom is connected to Vegas so trading Carr to the Patriots after that event could help both teams. They do have a couple of extra fourth-round picks and seventh rounds which could help the deal get done. The key to doing a trade with New England is they will only move if the price is right, aka cheap. This might be the Raiders’ only option if they draft Carr’s replacement without trading him first.
The Bears would actually make a lot of sense. There are rumors they may put Mitch Trubisky through the Marcus Mariota treatment. That means letting Trubisky prove himself as the starter but bringing in a veteran to help him as well as push him. That makes Derek Carr a perfect fit for the Bears. Despite the cold weather, Carr could beat Trubisky out for the starting job in camp or during the season.
His friend, Khalil Mack is there too. Chicago owns two second-round picks, two fifth-round picks and two picks in the sixth round as well as a seventh. They have the capital to get the deal done but they might covet those picks a lot considering they don’t have picks in the first, third or fourth round. Either way, the Raiders might be better off holding Carr until the season when Chicago might be desperate for another starting quarterback. That way they can get a higher draft pick in the exchange.
The Jaguars have needed a shakeup at QB. Gardner Minshew cooled off real quick and Nick Foles was hurt before losing his spot to Minshew. Carr would be an upgrade over either of those guys but Mishnew does have the benefit of age. Depending on how the draft shakes out, the Jaguars might not see a starting quarterback worth the ninth pick nor one much better later in the first or second round.
That’s when Carr comes into the picture. Jacksonville has an extra first-round pick and sixth-round pick in addition to picks in the rest of the rounds so they have the capital to move on Carr. They just traded A.J. Bouye for a fourth-rounder and are also expected to trade Nick Foles. Foles could be a good bridge guy for the Silver and Black so a swap could make sense. Either way, the Jaguars trading for Carr will come down to them wanting to bet on D.C. over developing Mishnew or drafting another young QB.
Jameis Winston is a free agent and it appears likely he will play elsewhere according to recent reports. Reports also say the Buccaneers will pursue free agent quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Either way, Derek Carr might be a nice fall safe for the Buccaneers should they miss out on Bridgewater and Winston. You could argue he is an upgrade over the two. At the least, he is the middle ground between the two. Bruce Arians might help Carr take steps Gruden hasn’t helped Carr take too. Tampa has all of their draft picks as well which puts them amongst most likely suitors.
The Titans made a change at quarterback last year moving towards Ryan Tannehill. Now, Tannehill is a free agent who might get a ton of interest. Tennessee is interested in keeping him as their No. 1 option but they’ve also been connected to Tom Brady. They could also explore a QB early in the draft since Marcus Mariota is neither the present or future. Otherwise, Derek Carr could come into the picture if the Titans can’t sign any of those guys. Tennessee holds all of their draft picks too so Carr could be easy for them to get if they can’t keep Tannehill and miss out on Brady.
Indianapolis is open for various quarterback options, according to its owner. The Colts have already been speculated to have interest in Carr, Rivers, and Brady. They might also try to draft their QB. Either way, the Colts have all their picks and added seconds and sixth-round picks to make the deal happen.
Indianapolis might have some interest in making a deal happen if they miss out on the veterans in Free Agency. That would mean they make Carr their QB of the present. They could also draft a QB for Carr to mentor. Either way, the Colts seem like one of the most viable trade partners. They were in the playoff race last year and Carr could keep them there while stabilizing the future more than Brady or Rivers could.
In the end, it appears the team most likely to make a move will be a team with a QB opening, playoff hopes and draft capital. If I were a betting man, Carr probably ends up playing somewhere in the South if he is no longer with the Raiders. Again, that all depends on timing and what happens in NFL Free Agency or the NFL Draft. Where Derek Carr ends up probably also depends on how desperate the Raiders are to move him.